16 Delicious South African Cuisines You Should Try

South Africa is known as the adventure capital, a location where you may view stunning landscapes and animals and also take part in a variety of trekking and sprint activities. Asides from that, there is the wonderful South African cuisine, which offers a diverse range of delectable dishes that entice visitors and has also gone well beyond the country’s coastline.

If you are not African or from South Africa, this article will help you broaden your culinary horizons and familiarize you with the greatest of South African cuisines which you can also get in the United States.

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About South African Cuisine

The Bantu people arrived in South Africa in 1000 AD, near the conclusion of the Southern Migration, after migrating from the north.

They pioneered farming in South Africa by planting a variety of crops like maize, sorghum, millet, and other vegetables, as well as producing flocks of tamed cattle while employing superior iron equipment.

This still reflects in South African cuisine, which boasts a varied spectrum of culinary traditions mirrored by the country’s many populations.

What Makes South African Cuisine Different?

South African cuisine, like the country’s people and culture, is dynamic, multicultural, and distinctive. The nation’s cuisines have had a combination of African, Dutch, French, and Malay influences over the years.

1. Ingredients in South African cuisine

In comparison to Western nations, the components used in these dishes are completely fresh and not overly processed. This distinguishes it and offers it the uniqueness it has to date.

Spices including fennel, cumin, coriander, garam masala, madras curry powder, turmeric, allspice, and ginger make up South African dishes. The use of tamarind paste and curry leaves also hints at the large Indian population.

Chutney, mielie meal (grounded corn/maize­), and pickles are sought after in many South African homes, using them as a fantastic addition to meals.

Atchar is another famous ingredient that came with the Indian population’s influence. As a result, you will often find Green mangoes and chilies used to make the spicy.

2. Method of preparation in South African cuisine

Most of the cooking methods used in South African meals are like those used in other African countries. Roasting is a type of cooking done over an open fire without using water.

To put meals together, they perform a lot of boiling, baking, steaming, and frying. All this cooking is with wood or charcoal rather than electricity or gas.

3. South African cuisine food presentation

It is the point at which you will be completely drawn to the meal. South African sides are typically served in wooden ladles or bowls, giving them an African character.

To offer a great flavor and balanced diet, they also combine a lot of spices and meat with vegetables.

Most Popular Dishes in South African Cuisines

The top five South African meals you’ll meet are braai, vetkoek, boerewors, bobotie, and potjiekos. There are, however, some other excellent cuisines found in the restaurant’s collection.

1. Braai


A braai, short for braaivleis, is the South African version of a barbeque and means “grilled meat” in Afrikaans. You should always roast your Braais over wood or charcoal, never with gas.

A traditional South African braai includes grilled meats such as beef, hog, lamb, poultry, ostrich, fish, boerewors (sausage), and sosatie (skewered meat). You can cook root crops, bread, and game meats like warthog, kudu, and springbok over an open fire.

2. Vetkoek


Vetkoek, commonly known as fat cake, is a delicious food bite. Filled with anything you like, including beef, tuna, mayonnaise, syrup, curry minced meat, cheese, and others. They’re quick, simple, and delicious.

3. Boerewors


Boerewors is a South African sausage famous in southern African nations such as Namibia and Zimbabwe. In Afrikaans, Boer means “farmer” and wors means “sausage,” therefore boerewors means “farmer’s sausage.”

Boerewors is made by crushing beef and a variety of spices such as coriander seed, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and black pepper, among others.

Although the meat can be blended with minced pig or lamb, true boerewors should always include beef.

4. Bobotie


It is a traditional South African dish prepared with curried pork and dried fruit served with a light egg-based covering bobotie.

The food is an infusion of Cape Malay cuisine which is famous in South Africa as a national dish like Moussaka.

5. Potjiekos


Potjieko is a traditional South African dish cooked in a spherical cast-iron cauldron called a potjie.

The Potjie, which is a Dutch oven used outside with a wood or charcoal fire, is a common piece of equipment in many Dutch houses and communities.

Lamb or pig with a variety of vegetables including carrots, cabbage, potatoes, onions, cauliflower, and green beans, all make up a Potjieko.

6. Sosatie


Sosatie is a familiar meal served at a South African cookout. They are cubes of meat, lamb, or mutton attached on sticks and grilled or pan-fried.

Sosatie is a Cape Malay dish formed from the words Saus (hot sauce) and sate (skewered pork).

The meat used in Sosatie also mixes fried onions, garlic, chili pepper, curry leaves, and tamarind juice.

The most frequent meats are lamb and mutton, although they can also use beef or chicken. The meat is strung onto skewers and roasted, often with peppers and onions inserted in the meat.

7. Roosterbrood (Roosterkoek)


Roosterbrood, also known as Roosterkoek, is a grilled bread prepared with wheat, yeast, salt, sugar, and water.

They’re grilled at once on the barbecue over a hardwood or charcoal fire, just like the steaks at a braai.

On the exterior, it’s smoky and crusty, yet on the inside, it’s soft and doughy. It’s a favorite side dish that pairs well with the braai’s succulent grilled meats.

8. Braaibroodjie


The South African variant of the grilled cheese sandwich is Braaibroodjie, which means “barbecue bread.”

You can cook Braaibroodjie in a variety of ways, but the most common are two slices of buttery white bread, tomatoes, cheddar cheese, red onions, and chutney.

If you’re not familiar with the term, chutney belongs to a collection of Indian seasonings popularized by the British in South Africa.

Braaibroodjie is the second biggest dish at a braai, just after meats, and is usually served after the meal. It’s smoky, gooey, and crispy.

9. Biltong/Droëwors


If you enjoy beef jerky, Biltong and Droëwors are perfect for you. They’re South Africa’s version of beef jerky, but superior.

Also, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Botswana, Namibia, and Zambia all have Biltong in their cuisines.

To cook food, you have to chop flat slices or strips and prepare it with a range of meats such as beef, chicken, fish, ostrich, and wild game meats such as kudu or springbok.

10. Samoosa


The samoosa is the South African equivalent of the South Asian samosa, a baked or fried triangle pastry filled with various delicious ingredients. Samoosa recipes vary, but they usually consist of a minced meat filling (commonly beef, chicken, or lamb) seasoned with garlic, ginger, onions, herbs, and spices.

Thousands of indentured Indian laborers came to South Africa during the mid-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to aid set up the sugar business in the erstwhile Natal province (now KwaZulu-Natal).

In addition, were the Indian cuisines and culinary techniques, many of which have remained part of South African traditional cuisine. The samoosa is one of these dishes.

11. Amanqina Enkukhu


Amanqina, often known as “walkie-talkies” or “runaways,” is a chicken foot stew. It’s a popular snack meal in townships around the country.

To make food, boil chicken feet in liquid to clean the outermost layer. Once seasoned, they are then stewed, fried, or grilled with spices like Indian spices, turmeric, salt, and black pepper.

You can eat Amanqina with pap or any liquid custard of your choice.

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12. Frikkadel


Frikkadel is another example of Dutch influence on South African cuisine. It’s a mildly spicy meatball dish with a sweetened tomato sauce that’s popular in the Netherlands and some parts of Europe.

Ground beef, onions, eggs, garlic, salt, black pepper, butter, herbs, and spices make up a Frikkadel. This recipe is like others, however, the use of soaked white bread as a binder separates South Africa’s version.

Consequently, the meatballs will remain soft and juicy. The beef mixture forms into balls or patties before baking or deep-frying.

13. Mala Mogodu


Mala Mogodu is a famous South African, Lesotho, and Botswanan dish that consists of cattle tripe and intestines cooked with onions, garlic, peppers, tomatoes, herbal products, and spices.

14. Tomato Bredie


This is a stew cooked with mutton or lamb with tomatoes. It’s called Tamatiebredie in Afrikaans, and it’s another delectable instance of the Cape Malay effect on South African cooking.

To make this dish, mix fatty and bony slices of mutton or lamb in flour and brown. Then cook with tomatoes, green beans, pumpkin, cauliflower, and lentils, among other veggies.

The meat and veggies steam until soft and seasoned with ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and chili, among other spices and seasonings.

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15. Cape Malay Curry


One of the finest and most famous representations of the Cape Malay influence on South African cooking is this curry dish.

It’s a South African food made with lamb or chicken and different seasonings like cumin, coriander, turmeric, and masala powder. It’s often made from rice and consumed with no utensils.

16. Biryani


Biryani is another example of Indian influence on South African cuisine, as fans of this fragrant rice dish would know.

As a result, It’s an Indian meal cooked with meat (lamb or chicken) layered with basmati rice, potatoes, and lentils and seasoned with saffron, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, cumin, turmeric, mint, and coriander.

How to Find a South African Cuisine Restaurant Near You

Whenever you want to taste South African food, your best choice is to use Google to discover a restaurant near you.

According to research, whether you live in New York, Atlanta, or Houston, there are a plethora of African restaurants, particularly South African restaurants, where you may sample all these dishes and more.

Whatever you choose to do, make sure you have all the facts. Check out the restaurant’s website, if they have one, and also their social media accounts to get a clear idea of the food they serve and if it’s what you’re looking for.


How did the early South Africans get their food?

The majority of early South Africans were hunter-gatherers. Subsequently, Tortoises, crayfish, coconuts, and squash were among the items they relied on to live.

What influences South African cuisine?

The cuisine of South Africa is a unique blend of many diverse foreign cultural influences.

These include tastes and methods from the Netherlands, France, India, and Malaysia, which continue to appear on restaurant menus and in the homes of people around the country.

Does South Africa have good food?

Yes, it does. South Africa has some of Africa’s greatest and most diversified cuisine, as well as a wine heritage that extends back to the mid-seventeenth century.

Individuals who appreciate escapades and also wonderful cuisine will find enough to enjoy in Cape Town and South Africa, as you’ll discover in this article that these dishes are truly a wonder.

What is a typical South African meal?

Braai is the most typical South African meal. Beef, hog, lamb, chicken, ostrich, seafood, boerewors (sausage), and sosatie (skewered meat) are some of the meats served in South Africa.

Barbecued root vegetables, bread, and game meats such as warthog, kudu, and springbok are also popular.

What is the staple food of South Africa?

PAP is from grounded and also fermented maize. It is, therefore, the main source of nutrition for many South Africans.


South Africa is popular for its rich history and stunning landscapes. Year after year, many people go to southern Africa for the adrenaline rush and adventure that comes with a lot of sightseeing and wildlife.

They also have fantastic food, which is a result of the presence of Dutch, Indians, English, and Malaysians. All this results in the diverse menus that you’ll find at a South African restaurant, as well as the flavor.

Because South African cuisine is freshly cooked and rarely uses gas or electricity, you should be confident that you will not go wrong with it. If you’ve never eaten South African cuisine, now is the time to do so.

Thank you for reading.

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